[This is a review of iZombie season 1, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]
As iZombie‘s first season trundles happily forward, it’s worth taking a momentary pause to touch on a key detail that was somewhat skipped over – perhaps because of the writers’ eagerness to jump straight into the good old-fashioned zombie fun. Max Rager, the energy drink company that played a key role in “Liv and Let Clive“, was actually introduced in the pilot episode of the show – albeit in a way that was very easy to miss. The fateful boat party that Liv attended was actually a Max Rager promotional event, though the only way to know this is by keeping an eye on the background during the brief backstory scenes in the pilot, where the Max Rager logo is visible.
iZombie really deserves a slap on the wrist for not establishing this fact more thoroughly, because it becomes important in this week’s episode, “Maternity Liv”. Ravi, still determined to find a cure for Liv’s condition, explains his belief that zombies are created through the combination of one of Max Rager’s unlisted ingredients and a bad batch of Utopium. It’s a combination that would have been in play during the boat party (and most likely during Lowell’s drunken night of partying as well), but wouldn’t be common enough to instigate a mass zombie outbreak by itself.
Ravi upsets the animal lovers in the audience by testing his theory on a group of lab rats, but only after he’s able to pry one of them out of Liv’s loving arms. This week’s batch of brains came from a teenager girl who was on the verge of giving birth before she died, leaving Liv with a massive dose of maternal instincts and a kidnapping/murder to solve – if she can stop mothering Clive and Ravi for long enough to focus.
Luckily Lowell isn’t too much of a distraction, as the brains of a gay scientist leave him with no immediate interest in testing out the mechanics of zombie sex with Liv. The upside to this is that Liv gets a gay best friend for an evening and the two get to spend some good, clean, asexual time together; it’s one thing to go out with someone because you both have a taste for brains, but it’s not true love until you’ve shared a drunken moonwalk.
“Maternity Liv” features an unusually strong mystery with a couple of red herrings that are actually convincing for a while – though the real culprit is once again obvious from the minute she appears onscreen. At this rate iZombie‘s going to have to get into the habit of revealing the bad guy in the last ten minutes of the show, because the “just a random helpful witness” smokescreen is never very convincing.
The A-plot also carries a bit more emotional weight this week, since Liv’s newfound broodiness leaves her feeling drawn to Emily Sparrow’s newborn baby and fretting over who it will end up with. Emily’s parents didn’t react well to the news of the pregnancy and are likely suspects in the kidnapping, but the alternative is Emily’s douchebag boyfriend Dylan, who thinks of his offspring as a ticket to fame.
The case-of-the-week eventually ends up tying into the season arc, as the kidnapping couple are found to have a collection of bodies on their property and therefore get pinned with the blame for Blaine’s murders. It might seem like a flimsy connection, but the police in iZombie are corrupt enough to put the GCPD to shame – in part because Detective Babineaux’s superior officer is a zombie with a vested interested in covering up Blaine’s crimes.
While all this is going on, iZombie‘s showrunners appear to have heard our plea for more substantial supporting character arcs because Major and Clive spend a significant amount of time in their own little plot alley this week. Major is still doggedly trying to track down the truth behind his friends’ disappearance and enlists the help of Seattle Observer reporter Rebecca Hinton, whose ruthless quoting kicks Clive right back to the police department’s dog house.
Things to look forward to in future episodes: Ravi’s pet zombie rat; Liv’s brother getting a job at Blaine’s Charcuterie and Brain Emporium; more amateur detective work from Major; and Liv continuing to embrace the positives of life as a zombie.
[Liv licks her hand and smooths down Ravi’s hair.]
Ravi: Although not remotely sexual, that’s got to be some form of harassment.
Clive: The best I can do is let you watch from the observation room, OK?
Liv: Not really.
Clive: I’ve created a monster.
Liv: Yeah, someone beat you to the punch on that.
iZombie returns next Tuesday with “Dead Air” @9pm on The CW. Watch a preview below: